Text: Samuel Trotman | Photography: Danny North
The UK denim scene is on the rise. Realised by the material’s long-standing local craftsmen/women, British brands are producing jeans that rival the best in the world. In Book of Denim Volume 1 we took a look at some of the contenders.
Cutting his jeans from European 13OZ denim (woven on vintage looms in Portugal), David Keyte of contemporary menswear brand Universal Work is a Nottingham native, a city steeped in manufacturing heritage. The “Made in England” aspect is not just the core ethos behind his brand—it’s also about being part of the local manufacturing community.
For the past four years entrepreneur David Hieatt has been busy reinvigorating the local community of Welsh town, Cardigan, which up until 2002 was home to Britain’s largest surviving jeans factory, employing 400 in a town of 4,000 people. While half of Hiut Denim’s 22 employees focus on handcrafting each pair of jeans, the other concentrates on storytelling; making films and taking photos to spread the word through social media.
Kick-starting their 2013 sustainable menswear brand solely on the back of online pre-orders from devoted denim-heads, Story mfg. is another fresh British denim face embracing the reach of the web. With “slow made” as its motto, founders Katy Katazome and Bobbin Threadbare opt to take their time with their creations, using hand-picked cotton, hank-dyed yarn (dipped and dried by hand), and denim that is loomed at a fraction of the speed of ‘more advanced’ industrial methods.
British menswear brand Tender Co. was inspired by designer William Knoll’s fascination with British workwear of the Victorian era. Not only does Knoll use entirely natural resources, but Tender Co. has somewhat perfected its care for the customer; every item is accompanied by a letter for its new owner, who then “tends” to his garment.
Since 2012, the small Brighton-based outfit run by denim and vintage obsessives Kelly Dawson and Scott Ogden, have worked towards building a collection that started initially with premium Japanese selvedge aprons, and more recently has expanded into jeans and jackets.
Perhaps when it comes to the hustle and bustle of London, it is Mohsin Sajid who is most revered for his expertise on denim design and fabric. For the past three-and-a-half years, the multitasking “denim doctor” has been running his private premium denim out of his East London studio.